How Stuff Spreads: Understanding the dynamics of ‘virality’

24th June 2016

How do videos go viral? How do people share them through social networks? And what are the dynamics of ‘virality’?

Francesco D’Orazio and Jess Owens worked with Twitter UK to explore four big viral phenomena. The stories they selected were driven by video, and chosen to represent various types of video content:


It turns out there’s not a single model of virality. Instead, different types of videos spread in different ways. Different types of content appeal to different audiences and the structure of these audiences is what shapes the viral diffusion.

Understanding the dynamics of that spread – quantifying it using metrics, and digging into the influencers and demographics to understand some of the “how”, is what is explored in the white paper. To give you a snapshot of what the video virality looks like, check out the diffusion maps below, which show the pattern of tweets and retweets for each video.

If you want to explore the full white paper, it’s available to download here.